Set Up New Recycling Systems

There is a long list of items and materials that you can recycle in the workplace. Whether you're starting from scratch or building upon previous work there are lots of items you can recycle. Some will save you money, some will be cost neutral and some might come at a cost but all of them will help reduce your workplace's impact on the environment and make your business more sustainable.

Considerations

Looking at your existing systems will help you save time and identify the biggest gains you can make.

  • Office paper, newsprint, magazines, cardboard, phonebooks

There are numerous companies that provide paper recycling services. These services usually involve collection bins, call centre support and signage.  Search Business Recycling for a paper recycling service in your local area (start with 'Paper and Cardboard' and narrow your search from there).

  • Glass and plastic bottles, jars, aluminium and steel cans

Depending upon your workplace you can arrange for collection of all of these items or for specific ones. The placement and collection of recycling bins comes at a cost but many businesses have found that they save money by setting up recycling. Scratchleys Restaurant in Newcastle NSW found that having a recycling bin removed from their premises cost them $6.80 while it cost $10.85 to have a garbage bin removed. They saved money by adding recycling bins. Search Business Recycling for a suitable recycling service (start with 'Food & Beverage Packaging' and narrow your search from there).

  • E-waste including computers, printers and televisions

Discarded electronic waste (or e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream in Australia. As individuals and businesses upgrade electronics like computers, TVs and videos at ever increasing rates, more and more programs are springing up to reuse or recycle the old equipment. Some programs refurbish the equipment and sell it or donate it to charities. Others collect, dismantle and recycle the materials. Find a local e-waste recycling service at Business Recycling or for household quantities, search RecyclingNearYou.

When purchasing new electronic equipment ask the supplier if they can take and recycle old equipment.

  • Printer and ink cartridges

If your workplace uses more than 3 cartridges a month (36/year) it may be eligible to participate in the free 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program. This program collects printer consumables which are then either returned to their original manufacturer for reuse, or recycled into new products by Planet Ark’s resource recovery partner Close the Loop (who guarantee zero waste to landfill through their processes). You'll receive a collection box(es) and a starter kit. Once the box is full you just need to call the hotline or book online and arrange a free courier pick up.

If your workplace doesn't use three or more cartridges a month you can drop the ones you do use at all Officeworks, JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys stores, and at participating Australia Post, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Office Product Depot and Office National stores.

For more information visit PlanetArk.org/Cartridges or call the Cartridge Hotline on 1300 24 24 73.

This program is an example of enhanced producer responsibility in action. The costs of recycling and the program promotion are paid for by cartridge manufacturers  Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera.

  • Mobile phones

Mobile phones contain both valuable and harmful materials. MobileMuster is the industry funded program established to increase recycling rates for mobile phones and chargers. There are drop off locations around the country that you can take your phone to or you can register your workplace as a collection site. To find a MobileMuster collection point near you, go to RecyclingNearYou and search for ‘Mobile phones’ in your local area.

  • Batteries

Batteries, including single use and rechargables, contain both valuable and dangerous materials. In some states certain batteries are considered toxic waste and can't be disposed of in the general garbage. Check out our battery information pages and resources, including our Battery Recycling Fact Sheet. To find a workplace recycling service, search in Business Recycling (start with 'Electrical Equipment and then choose a battery type). For household quantities, look for battery recycling drop-off locations in RecyclingNearYou.

  • Compact and normal fluorescent light globes

Fluorescent tubes contain glass, aluminium phosphor powder and mercury (which is toxic). Tubes, both compact fluorescent and traditional tubes, can be recycled to recover the valuable resources and safely deal with toxic elements. For more information on fluorescent recycling programs, and to find a local recycling service, search in Business Recycling (start with 'Lighting' and narrow your search from there).

  • Food scraps and garden cuttings

Organic waste in landfill breaks down without oxygen (anaerobically) to form methane - a greenhouse gas that is over 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Keeping food scraps and garden cuttings out of landfill helps reduce greenhouse gases. Recycling food scraps and garden cuttings through composting also retains the valuable nutrients and energy they contain.

If your workplace generates garden cuttings or food scraps, search on Business Recycling for a local recycling service that will collect and recycle them. Alternatively, you can compost them at your own workplace through a range of methods including commercial-sized worm farms or composting systems.

For more information on dealing with Garden Cuttings, check out our Garden Cuttings information page.

For more information on how to deal with Food Scraps, check out our Food Scraps information page.

BusinessRecycling.com.au 

The BusinessRecycling website makes it easier to recycle at work with a searchable database of recyclers, a toolkit to help you get started setting up a new system, free signagecase studies, information and more. 

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